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Lasher v. Wipperfurth

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 13, 2018

GREGORY LASHER, as lineal heir to Liam N. McDougal-Lasher deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
REED G. WIPPERFURTH, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion in Limine (Doc. # 31), wherein Plaintiff Gregory Lasher, lineal heir to decedent Liam McDougal-Lasher, requests that this Court exclude certain evidence from trial. Defendant Reed Wipperfurth objects to the motion (Doc. # 33), and for the following reasons, the Court denies it.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings one claim for relief against Defendant: wrongful death. (Doc. # 1.) That claim stems from an accident in June 2016 where 11-year-old Liam, while crossing Saguache County Road LL6, was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by Defendant. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the fatality was caused by Defendant's negligent and reckless conduct. (Doc. # 1 at 1-2.) Defendant denies any fault for the accident and claims that Liam suddenly and unexpectedly ran from the side of the road in front of Defendant's vehicle, causing the crash. (Doc. ## 9; 39 at 3.)

         The Parties are set for a four-day jury trial to begin on November 5, 2018. In anticipation of trial, Plaintiff filed the instant motion, wherein he requests the exclusion of (1) the non-party status of Ashley Snyder, Liam's mother; and (2) the concluding portion of Defendant's expert Dr. Laura Rieffel's report, wherein she discusses Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related mortality rates. As explained below, the Court disagrees that exclusion is warranted in either instance.

         II. NON-PARTY STATUS OF ASHLEY SNYDER

         The Court denies as premature Plaintiff's first request regarding the non-party status of Ashley Snyder. Defendant has not designated Ms. Snyder as a non-party. Nor is there any indication from Defendant's response to Plaintiff's motion that they intend to so designate or to refer to Ms. Snyder as such. To the extent Plaintiff requests the exclusion of any mention of Ms. Snyder at all, the Court denies that request. Defendant's defense appears to be, in part, that Liam unexpectedly ran across the road to return to Ms. Snyder, his mother, when the car struck him. Her presence under those circumstances is relevant to the issues in this lawsuit and references to Ms. Snyder generally will not, therefore, be excluded from trial.

         III. EXPERT REPORT OF DR. LAURA RIEFFEL

         The Court also denies Plaintiff's request to exclude Dr. Rieffel's challenged opinion at trial.

         A. LAW

         In reaching this conclusion, the Court was guided by Fed.R.Evid. 702, which imposes on it a gatekeeper obligation to “ensure that any and all scientific testimony or evidence admitted is not only relevant, but reliable.” Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589 (1993). Rule 702 provides that a witness who is qualified as an expert by “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education” may testify if:

(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and ...

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